Saturday 1 October 2016

The 'Betty Power' tie-up means uncertainty for 7,000 staff

Published 09/09/2015 | 02:30

Executives at both firms have continued to stress that the real aim of the merger isn't to generate cost-saving synergies, but rather to create an enlarged group that will be a major global force in the sector. Photo: Bloomberg
Executives at both firms have continued to stress that the real aim of the merger isn't to generate cost-saving synergies, but rather to create an enlarged group that will be a major global force in the sector. Photo: Bloomberg

Breon Corcoran joked about his new wardrobe yesterday. He had been asked by an analyst about what changes the Betfair and Paddy Power brands might see as a result of the planned merger.

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"You'll notice I'm wearing a tie for the first time in many years," he quipped.

"There's a clear intent to have a differentiated brand position."

But the next number of months will mean uncertainty for many staff at both Paddy Power and Betfair.

Executives at both firms have continued to stress that the real aim of the merger isn't to generate cost-saving synergies, but rather to create an enlarged group that will be a major global force in the sector.

Regardless, the £50m of synergies (about £10m more than Davy Stockbrokers reckoned would be achieved) will have to come from somewhere and job losses will be the end result.

How many, no one knows yet.

Betfair's finance boss, Alex Gersh, also made things even more opaque by saying that the cost savings roadmap will continue to be redrawn after the merger has completed.

"We had joint team carry out an analysis of synergies," he said, "and while we're very confident of achieving the £50m annualised pre-tax synergies, we will not stop the integration until the merger is completed.

"Therefore, the composition of those synergies can and will change post-completion."

He insisted: "The point here is not about the cost synergies. It's about continuing to invest in the business and grow the business."

In achieving savings, the merged companies are looking at how the dual brands will work; integrating technology; creating a shared operations team; and combining the existing corporate functions into a single corporate function.

Irish Independent

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